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Psalms 31:9-13


31:9 Have mercy on me, for I am in distress!

My eyes grow dim 1  from suffering. 2 

I have lost my strength. 3 

31:10 For my life nears its end in pain;

my years draw to a close as I groan. 4 

My strength fails me because of 5  my sin,

and my bones become brittle. 6 

31:11 Because of all my enemies, people disdain me; 7 

my neighbors are appalled by my suffering 8 

those who know me are horrified by my condition; 9 

those who see me in the street run away from me.

31:12 I am forgotten, like a dead man no one thinks about; 10 

I am regarded as worthless, like a broken jar. 11 

31:13 For I hear what so many are saying, 12 

the terrifying news that comes from every direction. 13 

When they plot together against me,

they figure out how they can take my life.

1 tn Or perhaps, “are swollen.”

2 tn Cf. Ps 6:7, which has a similar line.

3 tn Heb “my breath and my stomach [grow weak].” Apparently the verb in the previous line (“grow dim, be weakened”) is to be understood here. The Hebrew term נפשׁ can mean “life,” or, more specifically, “throat, breath.” The psalmist seems to be lamenting that his breathing is impaired because of the physical and emotional suffering he is forced to endure.

4 tn Heb “and my years in groaning.”

5 tn Heb “stumbles in.”

6 tn Heb “grow weak.”

7 tn Heb “because of all my enemies I am a reproach.”

8 tc Heb “and to my neighbors, exceedingly.” If the MT is retained, then these words probably go with what precedes. However the syntactical awkwardness of the text suggests it is textually corrupt. P. C. Craigie (Psalms 1-50 [WBC], 258) suggests that the initial mem (מ) on מְאֹד (meod, “exceedingly”) be understood as an enclitic mem (ם) which was originally suffixed to the preceding form and then later misinterpreted. The resulting form אֵד (’ed) can then be taken as a defectively written form of אֵיד (’ed, “calamity”). If one follows this emendation, then the text reads literally, “and to my neighbors [I am one who experiences] calamity.” The noun פַחַד (fakhad, “[object of] horror”) occurs in the next line; אֵיד and פַחַד appear in parallelism elsewhere (see Prov 1:26-27).

9 tn Heb “and [an object of ] horror to those known by me.”

10 tn Heb “I am forgotten, like a dead man, from [the] heart.” The “heart” is here viewed as the center of one’s thoughts.

11 tn Heb “I am like a broken jar.” One throws away a broken jar without a second thought because it is considered worthless and useless.

12 tn Heb “the report of many.”

13 tn Heb “the terror from all around.”

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